Monday, June 1, 2009

Mohican 100 Mountain Bike Race - Three Short Stories

Historic Firsts For $300 Alex

I recently saw Michael Phelps on 60 Minutes.  The reporter was surprised to find his gold medals were not on display.  It didn’t surprise me in the least.  Most athletes I know don’t like to wave their success in others faces.  You nearly have to back them into a corner and shake it out of them.  Otherwise, if you just ask them how the race went, they’ll disappointingly say, “I had fun,” only to find out later that they won or hit a momentous mile stone.  Adam Schmidt is one of those guys.  While everyone would love to win, there are often other more subtle ambitions that cause an athlete to compete.  For some it’s the physical act of enduring.  For others it’s an act of discovery.  From personal experience, I’ve found there’s always something in every race, from natural beauty or internal feelings that I’d prefer to put on the mantle over a trophy.  Adam runs competitively, everything from church festival 5k’s to off road marathons and beyond.  Adam also races bikes, short punchy cyclocross to marathon mountain bike races.  In 2008 he completed the Mohican 100 mile trail run.  Think about that, a 100 mile foot race.  That’s like running nearly four consecutive marathons, on dirt.  Hardcore.  Even though he proudly wears the commemorative belt buckle, I’m convinced it’s more of a reminder of the real prize: his vivid stories of floating elephant hallucinations and coming across dead looking people sleeping along a fog shrouded trail at 4am.  This year, Adam Schmidt of Cincinnati became the first person ever to complete the Mohican 100 mile trail run and the Mohican 100 mile mountain bike race.  Congratulations.

My Twin

You always hear that twins can sometimes experience each others feelings and thoughts, even miles apart.  As I zipped past the last rest stop of the Mohican 100, I wasn’t looking forward to the pint glass of ice cold Sierra Nevada, a shower or being able to lay my bike down.  As if I could see the finish line through her eyes, all I could think about was my wife at the finish line, watching the clock, seeing the first finishers cross and knowing in her heart that I wasn’t far behind.  She knew my goal for the race and it was if I knew that she knew I was on pace to beat it.  My clock read 12:30pm.  There were 7-ish miles to go.  It was as if her cheers and thoughts found me miles away.  As if my bike was floating an inch above the trail while being pulled by an invisible string attached to my handlebars at one end and her hand at the other.  I rode the last 7 miles of single track with this incredible speed and precision that I only recall feeling twice before.   When I turned off the last stretch of fire road and into the finish shoot seven minutes under my goal time and saw her, I'm convinced we felt the same elation inside.  For those of you wishing to back me into a corner and shake me upside down, I finished the Mohican 100k in 18th place (out of over 150) in 6 hours 8 minutes.

How Not To Crash A Campground

You walk a fine line between axe murderer and chummy fellow mountain biker when you crash a campground.  I’m still not convinced there wasn’t a chainsaw inside the duffle bag of the dude from Arkansas who made camp behind our cabins.  Mountain bikers are a very open group.  At one time or another I’ve had to do a race on the cheap, so when he asked if we minded if he set up a tent behind our cabins, we obliged.  After he got settled, he made a peace offering of chocolate and sat down to share in the campground stories.  Through conversation his story seemed believable and twisted at the same time.  He took an expensive flight from Little Rock to Columbus and rented a car, yet he slept in a hammock and we discovered he had false teeth.  He got his nutrition ready the night before the race, but we never actually saw his bike.  One moment he was cool to be around and the next we got the feeling that we better lock the cabin door tonight.  I can’t remember how exactly he ended up in our cabin alone, but I’m guessing it sounded something like this “If you don’t mind, I’m just going to pop in your cabin and fill my water bottles.”  Suddenly we felt insecure and each one of us began to quietly lock our bikes up overnight.  Later he kindly offered his tent to a teammate who was sleeping on the floor.  Only the next morning, did we find out he kicked that guy out of the tent and asked the single girl sleeping inside the cabin if she’d like to sleep with him inside his tent.  We never saw the guy the entire day of the race.  The Sunday after the Mohican 100, as we were packing up, he grabbed up his stuff and went on his way home.  Now I feel like I should check the local paper to make sure no one turned up missing.

Looking for results?  Check here at this link.


StevenG said...

I rate the top Ohio Cycling events to be the Mohican 100 & Harbin Cyclocross 1a & 1b. Mohican is like my version of the spring classics. Thanks for the nice pull along the last road section. Congrats on the great race. I had the same feeling last years Mohican which I consider my best day ever on a bike.

Anonymous said...

That was one amazing race you threw down. Congrats! Thanks for letting up a bit to allow me to latch on to the train. You were riding liking it was mile 5 not 50 when you came by with Steven in tow. I had to smile through my tears of pain as you rode away. Way to dig deep for a great finish!


MTBCXGirl said...

Maybe those devil horns last year brought you bad luck! Great job on a stellar finish.

Joe Biker said...

ah ha! Next year it's a halo!